Moscow signaled on Thursday its desire to connect Nakhichevan to the rest of Azerbaijan through a railway link that would go through Armenia.
This announcement, made by the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, comes on the heels of statements by Armenian leaders of future talks with Azerbaijan to determine the borders between the two countries, another surprise element emanating from the November 9 agreement that ended the Karabakh war, but seems to be more of a blueprint for surrendering Armenian territory to Azerbaijan.
Zakharova signaled that the most promising direction in terms of unblocking transport communications is the restoration of railway link between Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan.
She added that with the assistance of Russian specialists, an initial survey of the border areas was carried out. According to the statement of the leaders of the three countries on November 9, all economic transport links in the region are unblocked; Armenia guarantees the safety of transport links between the western regions of Azerbaijan and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic in order to organize the unhindered movement of citizens of vehicles and goods in both directions.
“Control over transport communication is carried out by the border service of the FSB of Russia. The agreement stipulates the construction of new transport routes that connect the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic and the main territory of Azerbaijan would be ensured,” explained Zakharova.
“Unblocking economic links and building new transport routes is a long process. The main issues will be resolved by the authorities of Armenia and Azerbaijan, which, as far as we know, have formed special mechanisms for responding to problems arising during the post-conflict phase,” explained Zakharova.
Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, has made no secret of his desire to usurp more Armenian territory, including those in Armenia proper. During a parade in Baku on Thursday attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Aliyev declared that Zangezur and Yerevan are “historic territories” that belong to Azerbaijan.
Ankara also announced a plan to construct a railway link between Kars and Nakhichevan.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, once again, touted the need to open transportation links to Azerbaijan, repeating what he has been saying in defense of the agreement, that for Armenia’s future economic prosperity, opening of the transportation routes with Azerbaijan would be vital.
The prime minister framed this issues by arguing that open rail links with Iran and Moscow would greatly benefit Armenia’s economy. The railroad to Iran goes through Nakhichevan, while the one to Moscow must go through Baku.
“If we are to think about the future, we must think about the possibility of new factors emerging in economic life. Will there be significant changes in our economy from the resumption of the Armenia-Russia and Armenia-Iran railway communication? I think, yes. If we look at the question in this context, the picture looks different. But now, as I said, much more urgent issues need to be addressed,” he said on Saturday during an address to the nation on Facebook Live.